Which Country Is Second Only To The United States In Value Of Exported Foods?
Answer: The Netherlands
When you think of food exports, you probably don’t think of the Netherlands. You probably think of countries with large fertile areas that export massive amounts, as measured by pure tonnage, like the United States, China, Russia, and Brazil that export enough food to feed entire nations.
The Netherlands is a case study in precise and scientific farming methods, however, and people the world over could stand to learn from them. While they don’t export the most food by tonnage, their farming and food production efforts are astoundingly efficient. When it comes to the market value of their exported crops and foodstuffs, they are second only to the U.S. in terms of export value.
So how did a small, densely populated country that lacks massive areas of fertile farmland with long growing seasons maximize their profits? They farm with the same smarts and intensity that architects in New York apply to the sparse acreage they have. The Netherlands is dotted with giant greenhouse complexes (many in excess of a hundred acres) as well as hydroponic facilities and cutting edge poultry broiler houses. When they do farm outside, they farm as efficiently as possible using advanced technology (such as agricultural drones) to monitor crops right down to the individual plant. All told, more than half of the country’s landmass is devoted to agriculture.
Where did the innovation come from? At the turn of the millennium, the Dutch committed to becoming an agricultural powerhouse by using half the resources to produce twice the amount of food they were producing. As a result of the movement, farmers have reduced their use of water on many crops by up to 90 percent, healthier sustainable livestock practices have decreased the use of antibiotics by 60 percent, and heavy investment into agricultural science and technology has yielded acreage that produces 100 percent (or more) produce than other farms around the world.
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